After photos of Saatchi choking Lawson were released Sunday, the advertising mogul is defending his actions
Credit: Aaron Davidson/Getty; Startraks

On Sunday, The Mirror‘s Sunday People published disturbing photographs of what appeared to be a violent argument between celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi.

In the photographs, Saatchi is seen clutching Lawson, 53, by the throat while the couple sit outside at a restaurant in London’s Mayfair district on June 9. Lawson looks visibly upset as the two argue.

On Monday, Charles Saatchi, the co-founder of the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, released a statement to the Evening Standard, defending his actions.

“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point,” Saatchi, 70, said in the statement.

“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt,” he continued.

“We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke [Sunday] morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”

Scotland Yard says that officers from the Community Safety Unit at Westminster are “aware of the Sunday People article which was published on Sunday 16 June.”

“Enquiries are in hand to establish the facts in order to assess whether an investigation is necessary,” the statement says.

As yet, no arrests have been made and no complaints filed.

Monday, a rep for Lawson declined comment, “since this is a private matter.” Later that day, reports the U.K. Telegraph, when asked to comment on reports that the popular celebrity cook had moved out, her spokesman said: “I can clarify that she has left the family home with her children.”

Additional reporting by SIMON PERRY